Talk About Dysfunctional…Family History Files Are A Mess
I finally had a chance to get to my storage unit and retrieve my family history files that I started working on back in the early 1990s. After about 3 hours in the HOT Florida weather (anywhere from 92 to 98 degrees), I found all my files and some that had gotten put in the wrong boxes. I still have not found 1 file of my grandfather’s that had some original documents in that file. I am hoping that they too are mixed up with something else in another box and not lost completely.
This is the mess I had to go through and half way in to even begin finding my genealogy files.
Once I got the files home and started going through them, I realized I had no idea of what I was doing when I first started this project. I knew enough back then to obtain birth records, death records, marriage records, wills, etc. but I never sat down and created a filing system. If anyone else were to inherit this mess, more than likely it would all be thrown out in frustration.
I can kind of make sense of it because I created the chaos but even at times it was very confusing. In some cases, I found 3 copies of a birth certificate (1 for the child file, 1 for the mother file and 1 for the father file); absolutely too much work and a crazy system. Same thing for death certificates, but usually 4 copies of these (the person who died, the person who supplied the information and the names of the deceased persons parents).
And please don’t ask about the census records… too many of them to count all over the place.
So, before I go any further, I am creating a system, in hopes that generations to follow me will be able to pick up exactly where I left off. If not, at least a historical society or the LDS Church can have my records as a donation.
I am not sure whether I am trying to reinvent the wheel or not and maybe the system I am going to use is already in use but I have to work on a system that is easy as 1 – 2 – 3 for me. I AM basically starting from day 1 since I lost my computer records due to a Trojan virus in December of 2010. I was able to find a sketchy family tree record still left on Ancestry.com that I could transfer to my computer. I am so happy that Ancestry.com saves the files even if you aren’t a member for a while.
I will be using a genealogy software program, basically for numbering purposes; printing family group sheets and individual report sheets because after watching some interesting videos, I’ve decided that most of my genealogy research, etc. will be done on paper. As someone in one of the videos mention, “Who knows if in 20, 30 or 40 years if everything is done by computer, who is to say that future generations will ever be able to retrieve the information.”
I will be adding videos as I go along to show how I am setting up my system and will be preparing forms and suggestions and information on research resources and other sites to make your “genealogical life” much easier, especially if you are a beginner.
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